Tire swings have been a favourite backyard toy for generations. Once considered an ideal way to recycle, while providing hours of outdoor entertainment, the swings have undergone an evolution. For a significant price, you can purchase tire swings in the shapes of everything from trains to dragons. Arguably the most popular shape for these nouveau tire swings is that of the horse. But why pay upwards of £52 for this swing when you can make one for a fraction of the price? By following these step-by-step instructions, you will be rewarded with a whimsical, horse-shaped tire swing that will delight both young and old alike.
Design a template. Take a piece of paper or poster board and place the large cross-ply tire on top of it. Carefully sketch both the outer and inner the circumference of the tire onto the page.
Draw the template inside the sketched circle. The horse's shape must be drawn within the two circles on the page; the horse's nose should meet its tail. Keep your lines simple because each will be cut into the tire. Begin with the shape of the head and ears, and then delineate the neck from the back, the back from the haunches and the haunches from the tail. Please see the accompanying image as a guide.
Label the parts of your template and mark where you will need to cut holes for the support bolts. Cut away all excess paper, so that you are left with only the template. You can now tape or paste your template to the tire so that you can begin to make your cuts. It may be helpful to trace the lines of your template onto the tire in chalk or paint.
Cutt the tire along the lines of your template. This will be difficult and you must make sure to cut through both sidewalls of your tire evenly in order for the horse to take shape. Splay the tire along the cuts by easing the joints so that they turn inside out.
Turn the whole tire inside out. This may be difficult and it will require a lot of strength. You can carefully heat the joints to help you along. As you invert the tire and spread it out lengthwise, you will begin to see it take shape. The joints may have to be scribed so that they will remain creased in the right direction.
As you are shaping the tire along its joints, begin holding it in place with the bolts. Begin by securing the nose (fastening a bolt through both nostrils) and bolting the cheeks together through the neck.
Continue to bolt the horse together, moving from the head to the base of the neck, then to the back and the haunches. To create a seat back and jaunty tail, loop the tail piece back upon itself and secure it with a small bolt. Make sure that the nut is on the outside and the bolt head is flush with the back.
Insert a long bolt through the body of the saddle to keep it in form. Make sure that the ends of the bolt are capped to avoid injuries. You can then hang the swing by looping one length of rope or chain through the cut at the top of the head and one length through the tail loop, and securing the two lengths to a high and sturdy tree limb. The horse swing will now ride back and forth in a loping fashion.
An old fan belt or length of rope can be looped over the neck to serve as reins.